Digital marketing and blogging

If you want to grow your business via digital marketing, get ready to blog. Or, plan on hiring someone to do it for you.

At the end of the day, blogging is what counts. The reason is simple: because that’s what Google wants.

But they want more than just words on a page. They want the words to mean something, because strong content is how they get people to use their search engine.

If you turn back the clock a few years, you will remember the days of ezines and other poor-quality content offerings that filled up the Google search results.

To say they degraded the search experience would be an understatement. Searching for information in those days was pretty much a total waste of time.

A less than pleasing experience to be sure.

Seeking to improve that experience, and make their search engine a viable place to learn and discover, Google made publishing strong content a powerful incentive.

The deal was, and is, that strong and relevant and fresh content would be rewarded with better search position. In other words, publish something of value and get rewarded.

That has proven to be the case to a certain extent, but more is required to achieve those great page results. Notably, in-bound links from other websites.

When other websites link to yours, that shows credibility in the eyes of Google. They compare it to a vote of confidence.

Naturally, that vote has more meaning if it comes from a website of stature. For example, if you have a medical information website, and webmd.com links to it – then you have something.

The combination of strong content and in-bound links is the essence of modern internet marketing. Both areas require a lot of effort and time.

Developing strong content for a niche that may be overwhelmed with material is no easy task. It seems that whatever topic one tries to write about has already been well covered.

Take web design for example. If there’s one, there must be a thousand articles on ‘best tips for a great website’. Any ‘how to’ topic has been written about by an endless stream of design and development blogs.

Even more difficult than finding new material is finding websites interested in providing those valuable links.

With all the obstacles and difficulties, is it worth the effort? Hard to really say.

In my opinion, it comes down to time frame. If you have a long-range view of your business, then a plan of gradual, but continuous content development make sense.

Figure the process of achieving any meaningful visibility will take years. That’s fine if you have years. Take it slow, and probably you will achieve some success.

 

If you don’t have years, than perhaps it’s better to not even try traditional organic online marketing.

 

 

Other options that will be far quicker included pay for click (PPC) with either Google, Facebook, Linkedin or twitter.

 

While no easy road to be sure, the advertising approach offers a much quicker solution that the organic one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging

Blogging may not be the activity you most look forward to. But if you want your blog, or website to be seen by Google, it really is necessary.

I’ve learned this from experience with my blog, richardweisskopf.com. You would think that ranking first for a name search would be easy with an exact match blog,  but that has not proven to be the case.

During times that I actively post articles or information pertaining to my niche, my website has consistently ranked at the top for an exact name search for Richard Weisskopf.

During times that I have not posted content, the site ranks as low as 3rd or 4th on the page. The reason why is simple: social media sites, like Linkedin and Facebook and Twitter, with profiles of other people named Richard Weisskopf rank higher.

The only way for me to keep my blog at the top of the Google search page results for my name is to continuously blog.

The next question is how long the blogs need to be – and how often they need to be created and published.

There are different opinions regarding the optimum length of a blog. But most industry experts agree that very long posts – 2500 words and more – are needed for difficult and competitive keywords.

If the keywords are less competitive, as a name might be, the feeling is that shorter posts will do the trick. In either scenario, frequency is essential. Once or twice a week is needed.

Not all posts are created equal

This means that not every post has to be written for publication. In other words, write the post and simply do not make it available to viewers of your website.

If the post is not show on a menu, or a widget display, it is essentially invisible to anyone other than the search engine. So, as long as the material is original and reasonably well-written, it will have the desired effect.

I’ve worked on large websites where hundreds of articles never say the light of day. At least as far as actual readers are concerned. The articles were the infrastructure of the web marketing strategy employed my the web masters.

If you are not a writer, consider paying for articles that will accomplish this goal. But, be really careful that whatever you publish meets certain basic quality standards.

Google is clever when it comes to detecting poorly written content. That includes content that is automatically generated by word spinning programs.

If you do purchase content or articles, take a minute to read them over and be sure they sound as if they are written by a native US writer. Check for spelling and vocabulary usage errors. Make sure that the material has some relevance to the topic of your website.

If possible, include an image. If you can, optimize the content by including back links and inter page linking. Provide authority quotes when possible.

Treat the invisible content as if someone were actually going to read it – that’s the safest approach.

 

 

Internet marketing and web design

My time is pretty much divided into two areas: web design and internet marketing. I’ve noticed some interesting aspects of each that in many ways, really make very little sense.

Clients, with very rare exception, see web design as an expense. As with any expense, the inclination is to negotiate the lowest price. For some reason, they do not acknowledge the inherent importance of something that says so much about their business.

If ever something was an investment and not an expense, it is web design. Prospects, and current clients, make numerous decisions about your business strictly based upon the appearance of your website.

Are the images strong and crisp? Is the design minimalist and professional? Is the layout contemporary and compelling?

The answers to questions like these determine the way your business is perceived.

I’ve often pointed this out to clients without much success. A typical response goes something like “it’s the information in the site that counts’.

While I don’t disagree about the importance of content, the fact is that visuals are not rational. They create a response that is not logical. Visuals are emotional.

This is why web design is an investment, not an expense. Spending the money to create a visual image that connotes whatever it is you want to express is the best money you can spend.

The other side of the coin is marketing. Where a client can resist even a modest charge for web design, the sky’s the limit when it comes to marketing.

A recent example: a client embarked upon a very heavy Adwords campaign. These campaigns, if you are not familiar with them, are based upon Google clicks.

An advertiser bids for page position for a certain search term. For example, If I were running an Adwords campaign for Webfour, one of my main search terms would be ‘web design’.

As you can imagine, there are many web designers interested in being found under this search term. To secure one of the top spots, my bid would have to $7 or $8.

So, every time someone clicked on my ad, Google would charge me $7 or $8. That adds up to serious money very quickly.

Getting back to my client: her ad budget for Google AdWords was set at $10,000 a month. For a small business – a sizable amount.

I spent a lot of time creating the ad campaign. I had to determine key words, negative keywords, ad groups, and more. I also had to write the ad copy, with multiple variations for the purpose of testing.

In additional to all of that, a way to track of all the clicks had to be implemented. What ad did a click come from? What happened after it was clicked?

This required installing Google Analytics, and tracking pixels in the client’s website. It also meant substantial training for the person monitoring the campaign on a day by day basis.

There was more of course, but this gives a general idea of the time just to setup the campaign. As a result, my hours added up, and the bill was substantial.

Just to recap, my client committed to a $10,000 monthly ad budget and paid me a substantial sum to do the setup. All of this without a word of complaint.

Then it came time to create the landing page. This is the page that visitors come to after clicking the ad and creating the charge.

Web designers, advertising and marketing experts, and just about everyone else with any experience in business or psychology, will attest to the importance of a landing page.

Not only must the page describe the service or product being offered, it must convince the reader to take action – to move to the next step in the sales cycle.

This might be completing an email form, receiving an e-book, requesting a quote via an online form, or making a phone call. Accomplishing this is no easy task.

You might even say, as many do, that the landing page is the most important component of the entire advertising promotion. And, it’s hard to argue with this logic.

What good is all the keyword research, ad writing and tracking, if the landing page fails to move the prospect to the next stage of the sales cycle?

Obviously, all of that effort is completely wasted if the landing page fails to do its job. With as obvious as this is, you would think the budget for the landing page would be ‘whatever it needs to be’.

Unfortunately, in this particular example, the client simply could not understand that the final, key component of the campaign was as much of an investment as was my time.

She simply could not get past the notion that design is an expense to be minimized at every juncture.

The story does have a happy ending. The campaign was a success – and that’s what counts. But with a greater understanding of the importance of design on human behavior, it could have done far better.